Liberty and Misconceptions, part 2

The Declaration of Independence, the birth certificate of what would become the United States of America, delineates three rights which it states are easily recognizable, inherent, and “unalienable” among men (and women, the word “men” being used inclusively). Those rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These are what are often called “universal” rights, these rights are common to humanity. Problems often arise when one, or all of the three, is ignored toward a particular people group. So, seeing as I am speaking to a more or less worldwide audience I will attempt to make the following comments as universal as possible as I continue in this brief series by talking about the first right, the right to life.
If we are going to be honest, we have to decide when does life begin and end. Does life begin, as one person put it, 28 days after birth, or does it begin when the sperm and ovum unite to form the zygote? Scientifically, these events are 10 months apart, but involve the same person, speaking genetically. When does life end? Does it end when a person is unable to care for themselves any longer or does it end when all naturally supported functions end in the state known as death? Is “life” what happens in between birth and death, whenever that may be or is it something more than what is lived between those two points? Is life, human life, intrinsically valuable and, if so, what gives it that value?
Maybe we are just playing word games when it comes to defining and describing life in any sense, but if it is a right then, most certainly, these are not games but matters of utmost seriousness that must be dealt with. Being a right, a divine right even, according to those whose thoughts were congealed into that wonderful theory that first right is one that no person has the right to try to define. We might be able to describe life, to judge it as good or bad, or as just or unjust, or as blessed or cursed, but in order to exercise it properly, most certainly, we can never assume that we know better if that right proceeds from what they assume it did.

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